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RCBC Bankard: Recovering From Online Shopping Scams

Unfortunately, the world we live in is full of opportunists trying to take advantage of unsuspecting members of the public through the use of scams. Especially in a pandemic and post-pandemic world, where everything was digitised, the public has seen an increase in scams, coming in a variety of different ways, leading many to fall victim to hackers. So how can you recover from this?

The Fintech Times spoke to RCBC Bankard‘s Head of Digital Marketing, Mira Sagrado, who explained the steps you should take to recover any lost assets and how to help prevent a disaster from happening again:

Mira Sagrado, Head of Digital Marketing, RCBC Bankard
Mira Sagrado, Head of Digital Marketing, RCBC Bankard

With the transition to online shopping during the pandemic, online scams have grown more prevalent now than ever. Your chances of running into debit card online fraud, too-good-to-be-true scams, password hack attempts, identity theft, SMS scams, and fake websites are increasing.

So, if you are one of the many people who have been a victim of online scams, what can you do about it?

1. Gather the evidence

When you realise you’ve been a victim of an online scam, the first thing you should do is report it. However, before you submit a report, make sure to first gather evidence. If applicable, document relevant emails, phone numbers, receipts, bank transfers, and order reference numbers as proof. Upon gathering these documents, you can next determine who you will report to.

2. Report to the concerned office

Reporting to your local district’s office or the closest police department is the fastest way to file a complaint. You can also inform the company the fraudster used to scam you to alert other customers of the suspicious activity.

If you’ve been exploited by a familiar online shopping scam made through emails, fake checks, phone calls, computer support, phishing, or sweepstake offers, report to the Federal Trade Commission online. Similarly, if you’re reporting an international online shopping scam such as fake websites, you may file a complaint to IC3.

3. Get your money back

Reporting scams to third-party organisations outside the government can help you get your money back. For instance, you can report to the online platform the fraudster used. If you paid with a gift card, you could contact the company that issued the certificate. They could refund your money if a scammer used your gift card fraudulently.

Moreover, if you used a bank account, debit, or credit card, or if the scammer made an unauthorised transfer from your bank account, you may set a fraud alert with your bank and request that the transaction be reversed. Likewise, if you paid through wire transfer, cryptocurrency, or a money transfer app, contact the platform and report that it was a fraudulent transfer.

4. Get support

Being a victim of scams can be stressful and frustrating. Thus, it helps to get emotional support from your family and friends or a victim support group to relieve your concerns and anxiety.

5. Avoid scams in the future

Awareness of the popular online shopping scams can help you prevent being scammed again in the future. You can also take measures to secure your personal details, money, and digital persona. For example, if you enclosed your details to a scammer, such as your SSS number or password, you can communicate with IdentityTheft.gov to monitor your credit and create a stronger password.

Similarly, if a scammer has access to your gadget or took control of your account and cellphone number, contact your service provider, and continuously keep an eye on your financial accounts.

Going forward

Credit card scams, debit card scams, SMS scams, identity fraud, and phishing scams are rapidly rising with the rise of online shopping. Thus, in combating online shopping scams, remember to act as soon as possible to reverse the transaction and get your money back.

Some helpful sites for US residents that have fallen victim to scams:

https://www.independentage.org/get-advice/money/scams/what-to-do-if-youve-been-victim-of-a-scam

https://www.usa.gov/stop-scams-frauds

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